Fireplaces and small children don’t always mix. If you have a fireplace, but you’re concerned about the safety of your children, you should add a fireplace screen. A fireplace screen provides an extra layer of protection, but does so beautifully. You can find fireplace screens that coordinate with any style of décor. But if your primary concern is energy efficiency, you may want to get fireplace doors instead.
My favorite household items are those that do double duty, and the fireplace screen is a great example. It provides protection and it beautifies. Fireplaces are highly sought after features in houses, but they have some disadvantages, especially when it comes to safety. When you have an indoor fire, you always have to be vigilant for embers and sparks from the burning wood. When these bits of burning debris come into contact with carpeting, clothing or upholstery, they can cause minor damage at best, and start a fire at worst. A fireplace screen in front of your fireplace doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment of the fire. But it does intercept sparks and embers before they leave the hearth. They also protect curious young hands from reaching into the fire.
The most traditional and basic fire screens usually consist of three panels of mesh fitted onto a wrought iron frame. Designs become more elaborate and more expensive beyond this basic level. Brass is another popular finish for fireplace screens. You can also get glass panel free-standing screens, which are like a combination of a screen and fireplace doors. The single piece bowed screen is also becoming more popular.
Many people complain about having to move the screen to tend the fire or add wood. Manufacturers have responded by designing screens that incorporate doors. These outward-opening doors make it possible to easily reach the fire when needed, but stay protected the rest of the time.
Just remember that screens don’t really block the airflow to or from your fireplace. If you’re concerned about heat escaping through the chimney, you might want to consider the more tightly-fitted glass fireplace doors.